posted on Aug, 29 2013 @ 10:31 AM
Nerve agents are weaponized chemicals engineered to interfere with the nervous system causing the death of the intoxicated individual. They are
readily absorbed into the body by inhalation, ingestion, and/or dermal contact and exert their biological effects by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase
enzymes. Nerve agents are the most toxic of all currently known chemical warfare agents.
SYMPTOMS & EFFECTS
Depending on the degree of intoxication, symptoms may include:
• Nervousness and/or restlessness
• Miosis (contraction of the pupil)
• Rhinorrhea (runny nose)
• Excessive salivation
• Dyspnea (difficulty in breathing due to bronchoconstriction/secretions)
• Bradycardia (slow heartbeat)
• Tachycardia (fast heartbeat)
• Loss of consciousness
• Flaccid paralysis
• Loss of bladder and bowel control
• Apnea (breathing stopped)
The onset of rhinorrhea and difficulty breathing is usually very rapid, occurring within seconds to minutes of exposure to nerve agent vapors, and
within half an hour of exposure to liquid agents.
Miosis is a very characteristic symptom of nerve agent intoxication. Victims will often report difficulty in seeing (blurred & dimmed vision).
In the hours following the reported chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus last Wednesday, ailing men, women, and children flocked to the
city's hospitals. Doctors in the Syrian capital treated thousands of patients who were experiencing neurotoxic symptoms, including pinpoint pupils,
foaming mouths, convulsions, blurry vision, and difficulty breathing. The symptoms point to exposure to sarin gas or another drug agent, a weapons
expert told Bloomberg. To combat the effects of what might be the world's worst chemical weapons attack in 25 years, the hospital staff turned to
atropine—at least until they ran out of the drug.